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Group Mapping Project: Biosphere

Monarch Butterflies
By: Elbiss Gerigourian
Local Scale

Before discussing about this map, we need to understand what biosphere and biomes
are. According to the Encyclopedia of Earth biosphere is the biological component of
earth systems that includes all living organisms on earth. And biomes are defined by
the plants and animals adapted to the environmental conditions found in them (Ritter,
2006). Within this concept, we will examine how the Monarch butterflies try to survive
with weather change by reviewing the local, regional, and global maps.
This local scaled map shows some areas in California where the monarch butterflies
migrate. Since these butterflies cannot survive the freezing cold temperature of the
northern parts of the United States and southern Canada, they migrate to areas with
mild winter. Usually the monarch butterflies that live west of the Rocky Mountains
migrate and overwinter around the coastal areas of California. This overwintering takes
place from mid-October through mid-February. These butterflies cluster on pine and
eucalyptus trees and enjoy the warm climate. Groups of overwintering monarchs are
found at more than 200 sites along the California coast, from Mendocino County in the
north to San Diego in the south (Learn About Nature, 2014). These migrating monarchs
after mating, fly back to northern areas in February.

Regional Scale

This regional scale map shows the areas that Monarch butterflies can be found in the
United States.
As it was mentioned, monarch butterflies cannot survive cold winters; therefore, they
migrate south and west each autumn to escape the cold weather. The monarch
migration usually starts in October of each year.
The monarch butterflies that live east of the Rocky Mountains usually migrate to Mexico
and hibernate in oyamel fir trees; and the butterflies that live west of the Rocky
Mountains travel to the coastal areas of California and overwinter in eucalyptus trees.
According to the scientists the monarch butterflies are the only insects that fly about
2500 miles to migrate to warmer climate (Learn About Nature, 2014). These butterflies
have four generations.
In February and March, the overwintering butterflies after mating migrate to north and
east to find a place to lay their eggs. These newborn monarchs make the first
generation. This first generation after fully growing lays eggs and dies. The second
generation is born in May and June; this generation also after fully growing lays eggs.
The third generation is born in July and August. This generation goes through the same
cycle as the first and second. The life span for the three generations is from two to six
weeks. These generations do not migrate. The fourth generation is born in September
and October. This generation goes through migration to warmer climate and does not
die in few weeks because the cool temperatures of fall in northern areas prevent the
butterflies from maturing quickly. Therefore, they live about eight to nine months
allowing them to fly to south and west for the winter and back again to reproduce the
following summer (Learn About Nature, 2014).

Global Scale

This is a global map of monarch butterflies distribution across the world. Monarchs are
native to North and South America but they are also found in Hawaii, Australia, and
New Zealand. Human involvement might be the reason that these butterflies traveled
across the world.

Global Warming and Monarch Butterflies:

According to the scientists, the global warming can have a great impact on the monarch
butterflies. The temperature is a critical trigger for these butterflies to start the journey.
Because of the global warming the timing of the migration is changing.